Thursday, 12 September 2013

Fairy Cupcakes

One of the first things we learn to bake as a child are fairy cakes. I think of fairy cakes as a cupcakes little cousin, as it is very similar to cupcakes just smaller in size. I have kind have grown out of fairy cakes and much prefer the bigger cupcakes with their wide variety of flavour combinations. Sometimes, it is good to take a trip down memory lane and make something that I enjoyed whist growing up. These fairy cupcakes are just that, they are simple and delicious, and whilst I was reminiscing I thought I would decorate with children's sweets. Feel free to decorate as you chose. This lovely recipe comes from Jo Wheatley's A Passion for Baking which I have really enjoyed baking from this year.
Here is how my fairy cupcakes turned out:
Fairy cupcakes

Fairy Cupcakes


I first started by creaming the butter and sugar before adding the egg and flour.
Butter, sugar, flour and egg.

I then placed the mixture in cupcake cases and baked for around 20 minutes.
Fairy cake mixture

Fairy cupcakes pre bake
Once baked I made the vanilla buttercream and spread on each cupcake. I then decorated with fruit pastels and jelly babies.
Butter for buttercream

Icing added for buttercream.

Recipe for Fairy Cupcakes.
Ingredients - Makes 12
175g caster sugar
175g margarine, softened
3 large eggs, beaten
175g self-raising flour

For the icing I stuck to my trusted vanilla buttercream recipe as I did not want to pair these cupcakes with royal icing.
For the buttercream
125 g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
420g icing sugar sifted.
Assorted sweets

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
Cream the sugar and margarine together until pale, light and fluffy, either by hand or in a free standing mixer.
Gradually add the eggs, mixing well between each addition and adding a teaspoon of the flour to the mixture if it starts to curdle.
Add the flour and mix until thoroughly combined.
Spoon the mixture into the paper bun cases. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown and well risen.
Remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the Buttercream
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar until smooth- this can take several minutes with an electric hand mixer. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy. I usually place the buttercream in the fridge for around 15 minutes as this makes it easier to spread the cupcakes.

I am entering my fairy cupcakes to Calendar Cakes, a monthly blogging challenge hosted by
 lauralovescakes and dollybakes. This month's theme is cupcakes as it is national cupcake week between  16th - 22nd September.

 xxx
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Friday, 6 September 2013

Chocolate and rum syrup cup cakes with lime buttercream.

I love Caribbean food, it is one the staples foods which I grew up on and I have fond memories of trying and enjoying different foods, bakes and sweet treats that originated from sunny Caribbean islands. Starting a food blog has encouraged me to branch out and try new foods that I perhaps would never have cooked or baked, and have now become firm favourites. I do, however, want to share more of my favourite Caribbean foods, and not only foods but my own versions of Caribbean classics. Food that we were all raised on, evolves over time and we often put our own spin on a childhood favourite.

My recipe for chocolate and rum syrup cupcakes with lime buttercream, is based on some of my favourite Caribbean flavours and the recipe in part is an evolution of key Caribbean ingredients. Coco which is primarily cultivated in South America and Africa is also cultivated in one of the medium sized Caribbean islands, Trinidad and played a key part in the socio economic development of this country in 1850-1920. The Caribbean is famously associated with rum, from the 60% proof found in Jamaica to the lovely dark rum found in Dominican Republic it's hard not to think of the Caribbean without thinking rum, so this was a must have as part of my recipe development. Finally, limes are also cultivated throughout the Caribbean and is often used as a marinade for dishes.

I thought it was important for my first recipe development to in cooperate all three Caribbean ingredients and pay homage to my Caribbean roots. My chocolate and rum syrup cupcakes with lime buttercream are for those who like a grown up style of cupcake, and for people who enjoy alcohol in their desserts. In cooperating the rum into the syrup makes it much more palatable and if Jamaican rum is too strong you can substitute white rum for a coconut based rum, the flavours should come through, although it may be a little sweeter.

Anyway, enough rambiling, here is how my chocolate and rum syrup cupcakes with lime buttercream turned out:
Chocolate and rum syrup cupcakes with lime buttercream. 

Selection of cupcakes


I first started by creaming the butter and sugar together before adding the flour and egg to the mixture.
Butter and sugar creamed.


Flour and egg added.
I added a splash of milk before adding cocoa to the mixture.
Splash of milk added




Once I added the coco, I placed the mixture in cupcake cases and left to bake for 20 minutes.
Coco added
Prebake

Cupcakes baked

Whilst the cupcakes are cooling, prick the cupcakes with a skewer and then get on with the rum syrup. Once the sugar and water dissolved take this off the heat and add the rum.
Cupcakes pricked.
Rum syrup added.

Add the rum syrup to the cupcake and leave to soak in the syrup for 15 minutes. Make the buttercream and spread over the cupcakes.
Lime buttercream

For 12 cupcakes

Ingredients.
175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
175g self – raising flour
3 eggs
30g coco.
1 teaspoon of baking powder.
A splash of milk (around 15ml)

For the rum syrup 
150g granulated sugar
100ml water
25ml white rum, preferably Jamaican rum

For the lime buttercream
150g butter, softened
475g icing sugar
juice of 2 limes.

Method
To make the cupcakes


 Preheat the oven to gas mark 4.
Cream the butter and sugar together using a hand held mixer for around 5 minutes or until the butter and sugar becomes light and fluffy.
In batches, add the self- raising flour, the tea spoon of baking powder with one egg at a time to the butter and sugar mixture and mix well until everything is blended.
Once the flour and eggs have been blended, add the coco to the mixture and mix well. Add the milk to loosen the mixture. Divide the mixture in 12 muffin cases – I like to add a tablespoon at a time to each case so that the cupcakes are fairly even in size and appearance.
Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes or until risen, golden brown.  If you have one, test with a metal skewer to make sure the cupcakes are cooked and no mixture is on the skewer.

Place the cupcakes aside and leave to cool whilst you get on with the rum syrup.
Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, if the sides of the pan begin to stick, dip a pastry brush in water and dip in the pan where the sugar has burnt. It is important that no stirring happens in this stage, but swirling is ok. Once the sugar has dissolved turn the fire of the heat and add the rum to the syrup.
Pour  two  tablespoons of the rum syrup over each cupcake  Let the cupcakes soak in their boozy bath for 15 minutes as this makes it easier to spread the lime buttercream.

Place the butter and lime juice in a mixing bowl and add the icing sugar in patches, and stir with a wooden spoon until all the icing sugar is in-cooperated.
Once the butter and sugar is mixed well, place the icing in the fridge for 30 minutes as this makes the buttercream easier to pipe. After 30 minutes remove the buttercream from the fridge and place in a large icing bag using a 1M nozzle tip in order to achieve swirls. If not using a piping bag, spread the buttercream on each cupcake using a pallete knife.


I am entering these lovely cupcakes to Calendar Cakes a monthly baking challenge hosted by lauralovescakes and dollybakes. This month's theme is cupcakes as it is national cupcake week between  16th - 22nd September.

Enjoy and I look forward to sharing more of my recipes with you

xxx
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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Raspberry Cupcakes

I first heard of the Primrose Bakery from picking up their second book "The Primrose Bakery" in my local supermarket last year. After flicking through some of the recipes I added this book to my must purchase list and decided to wait a bit as I thought the £10 cost was a bit high for another baking book (considering that I have so many). I was delighted when I discovered that WH Smith was selling this book for £3.74 in January so I snapped up two (one for me and a friend who loves baking) and have baked quite a few of their cupcake recipes see lemon cupcakes and lemon layer cake .
This recipe, raspberry cupcakes is taken from their seasonal cupcakes section and is classified as a summer recipe. I must agree, I much prefer to have a raspberry cupcake towards the end of summer instead of making it in the cold winter months. As for the cupcake, I found these to be delicious and I really liked the raspberry flavour which I could taste in every bite. I decided on topping these cupcakes with raspberry buttercream which I made by adding three tablespoons of raspberry jam to my usual buttercream recipe. These cupcakes are perfect whilst the weather is still ok and is flavoursome.
Here is how my raspberry cupcakes turned out:
Raspberry cupcakes.


Inside my raspberry cupcakes.

I first started by creaming the butter and sugar together and then added the flour mixture alongside the egg in batches.
Flour and egg added to the butter and sugar.

Once all the flour and the two eggs were added, I added 3 tablespoons of raspberry jam to the mixture.
Mixture pre jam.

Jam added to the mixture.

I carefully folded the jam to the mixture before dividing the mixture into 12 cupcake cases.
Jam in-cooperated.

Raspberry cupcakes pre bake.

I baked these cupcakes for 20 minutes and left to cool whilst I got on with the raspberry buttercream.
Raspberry cupcakes baked.

For the buttercream I creamed the butter and added the warmed raspberry jam, alongside the icing sugar - which I added in batches. If the mixture becomes too stiff, add a tablespoon of cold water to loosen.
Raspberry buttercream.


Recipe for Raspberry cupcakes with raspberry buttercream.

Ingredients
Makes 12 regular cupcakes
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
180g caster sugar
2 large eggs
225g self - raising four
125ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
3 tablespoons of seedless raspberry jam

For the icing, I developed my own recipe as I did not want to pair these cupcakes with the suggested white chocolate buttercream.
Raspberry buttercream.

125g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
420g icing sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons of raspberry jam, warmed.

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C (fan)/ 180CC/350F/ gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin trays with the appropriate cupcake cases.
In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until pale and smooth, which should take about 3-5 minutes using an electric beater. Add the eggs, one at a time,  mixing for a few minutes after each addition.
Put the milk in a jug and add the vanilla extract or essence to it. Add one-third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added.
Gently fold in the raspberry jam until most of its combined. The idea is to have some jam streaks running through the mixture, rather than an evenly coloured batter. Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes before carefully placing on a wire rack to cool. Once they have cooled, cut a small hole in the centre of each cake using a sharp knife or teaspoon and carefully place a teaspoon of jam inside- you can slightly warm the jam in a saucepan first to soften it before pushing it into the sponge.

For the raspberry buttercream

Method
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar until smooth - this can take several minutes with an electric hand mixer. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy. I usually place the buttercream in the fridge for around 15 minutes as this makes it easier to spread the cupcakes.

Ice the cupcakes using a palette knife or using a piping bag with a large nozzle fitted and enjoy.

I am entering these lovely cupcakes to Calendar Cakes a monthly baking challenge hosted by lauralovescakes and dollybakes. This month's theme is cupcakes as it is national cupcake week between  16th - 22nd September.


xxx


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